- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Church of Scientology hosted a “blessing and opening ceremony” of its new building at 1424 16th St. NW. over the weekend, causing traffic delays and scores of curious passers-by to stop and gawk. Many of those curious Georges may have been hoping for a glimpse of one of the church’s many celebrity members, such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, but were deterred thanks to a large plastic barricade.

According to Sylvia Stanard, a public-affairs director for the church, Academy Award-nominated actress Anne Archer (for “Fatal Attraction”) was the only Hollywood-type church member in attendance. However, Miss Stanard says, it’s “very possible” Mr. Cruise and Mr. Travolta may stop by the new 50,000-square-foot structure, which cost the church more than $18 million to purchase and renovate.

Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center David Miscavige, a close friend of Mr. Cruise’s, officiated at the ceremony, which was attended by about 3,000 invitation-only guests, including Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, who is not a church member “but supports the human rights work the church is doing all over the world,” Miss Stanard says.

She further explains that the building at 1701 20th St. NW, known to Scientologists as the “founding church” because it was the original church opened by the late L. Ron Hubbard in 1955, will remain open for some services but will be used mainly for administrative purposes.

The new church had to be built, she says, “because of our growing membership. We were literally busting at the seams.”

Now there’s one more place for us to do celeb watching.

Blast from past

The D.C. hard-core band Bad Brains headlined a party for the indie magazine Vice on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y. G2 ventured there with the hope of having an opportunity to interview the group, especially the band’s mysterious frontman, HR, who sat motionless on the stage for much of the set.

Though HR eluded us, there were plenty of stars in the sprawling warehouse, including comedian Mike Myers, rocker Karen O and supermodel Agyness Deyn.

Come back home, Bad Brains, and bring your celebrity following with you.

While Bad Brains avoided us in New York, local sensation group Suspicious Package, made up of Washington journalists, performed at the Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday for the annual Graveyard Jam.

Not so high-flyin’

Apparently, senior White House adviser David Axelrod wasn’t senior enough to get an upgrade when flying from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Sunday evening. A G2 spy tells us Mr. Axelrod and his security detail were seated in coach on a 5:05 p.m. flight.

Our source explains that the president’s right-hand man chatted briefly with a fellow passenger before takeoff but otherwise was left in peace. Mr. Axelrod was in the Windy City for a special screening of a documentary about the Obama campaign, “By the People,” which was produced by Hollywood actor Ed Norton.

The documentary debuts Tuesday on HBO.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@washingtontimes.com.

• Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover can be reached at undercover@washingtontimes.com.

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